I avoided rhubarb for years because it reminded me of celery, the latter never being one of my favorite things to eat. As I grew up, I realized it’s one of those reasons you should never judge a book by its cover. For one, when choosing rhubarb, the rubiest of red stalks are the most appealing looking, but that’s just because they had lots of exposure to sunlight. The greener stalks may not be as pretty, but they get the job done.
And the taste? Well, let’s just say now I buy more rhubarb than my fridge can hold as soon as it comes into season. Since I had my own phobias with rhubarb, I knew it would likely be a hard sell to my daughters too. Like their mother, they don’t care for celery either—I swear I’ve tried plenty of times, even with peanut butter which so many people say is a surefire trick.
But today we’re talking about rhubarb, and the best possible way to introduce it to kids. What kid doesn’t love pie? In fact, I don’t know any adults capable of refusing a slice. Just to be safe, I made them kid-sized, so they could hold them and happily snack on a homemade treat and still have room for an icy cold glass of milk.
For the pastry crust:
1 2/3 cups (8 ounces) all purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 ounces very cold butter, cut into 16 pieces
4 tablespoons ice cold water
For the filling:
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) strawberries, stems removed & berries chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup (2.25 ounces) rhubarb, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1/4 cup (2 ounces) granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten with a few drops of water
coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw), optional
- To make the pastry crust, add the flour, sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until it forms a sandy-looking mixture. Sprinkle the water over the flour-butter mixture and pulse until it forms a ball, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add another tablespoon or two of water if it looks to dry. Dump onto an unfloured counter and form into a flat disc. Wrap in plastic or waxed paper and let chill until firm, but still pliable, about 1 hour (you can quick chill it in the freezer for 20 minutes too, which is what I tend to do while prepping the fruit).
- Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
- For the filling, add the strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a deep bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 to 1/16-inch thick. Cut out 5-inch circles. It's okay to re-roll the scraps until all the dough is used up. Place cut circles on the prepared baking sheets (do not forget to place on parchment before forming pockets or they will be too delicate to transfer). Spoon 1 teaspoon of filling into the center of each circle, fold over, making sure the filling is not spilling out the edges, and crimp the edges closed with the tines of a fork. Use a sharp knife to slice 1 to 2 slits on top to create steam vents so the pies don’t explode while baking.
- Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired (it adds a nice crunchy texture to the finished pies). Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden. Let pies sit on the sheets for 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm or at room temperature.